Crater Lake Closed, Water Contaminated – July 14, 1975

Crater Lake Closed, Water Contaminated

The Daily Courier

Connellsville, PA.
July 14, 1975

Crater Lake National Park, which contains one of the world’s most “spectacular, blue lakes, may be closed for the summer because of contaminated water that has made more than 500 persons ill.

The park was closed Friday because the drinking water was contaminated by a broken sewer line. Oregon Health Division Director Robert Oliver said the park probably would be closed to all visitors for the rest of the summer.

The National Park Service said hundreds of visitors have become ill from drinking the water since mid-June. Park Superintendent Richard Suns said the number of persons stricken with nausea and other stomach ailments could not be determined accurately and might run into the thousands. Public Health Service nurses were flown to the park area to inoculate employees and visitors against hepatitis.

Oliver said state investigators discovered a sewer line imbedded in volcanic ash along the rim of the crater had broken and spilled raw sewage into the surrounding area.

The park water supply comes from a spring contaminated by the sewage. Oliver said a number of other springs dot the rim of the crater and efforts may be made to use one of them as a new water supply for the park and Crater Lake Lodge, which has served visitors to the rugged scenic area since the 1930s.

Temporarily, National Guard tankers will probably be used to provide a water supply for employees who remain in the area, he said.

The lodge itself perches on the rim of the crater at an elevation of 7,100 feet. Water from the lake itself cannot be used as a water supply since it is about 1,000 feet below the rim.

The lake was formed thousands of years ago when Mt Mazama, a volcano, erupted and the top of the peak collapsed. Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States.